Oh, come on, I don’t mean that kind of period. Good god, I don’t even floss my teeth in front of my husband. Do you really think I’d discuss personal feminine issues? But I had to rope you in somehow, and now that I’ve trapped you (just ask GM Barlean how good I am at that), I hope you’ll stick around.
Kids, there’s a boring topic in the neighborhood today. Let’s try to make it fun.
I need to confirm where to put periods when dealing with quotation marks that set off titles or quoted or spoken language—is it before or after the final quotation mark? For example, which of the following is correct?
A. My son’s favorite new made-up word is “paenus”. It is a combination of his two other favorite words “penis” and “anus”.
Or would it be:
B. My sons call my Prius the “Vagina Car.”
Although the content of those examples is regrettably true, ignore the implied parenting failure, and tell me where to put the freaking period. Is it after the final quotation mark as in exhibit A or before the final mark as in exhibit B?
The Elements of Style was no help, so I reached out to my good friend Google. From the Guide to Grammar and Writing, I found the following:
“In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic.”
Well, that’s a shocker.
The fact that my chubby, reality-TV obsessed country defies logic will surprise no one, but the source goes on to say that in the American style, the period goes before the final quotation mark as such: “paenus.” But in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other locations influenced by British education, the period goes after the final quotation mark like this: “anus”. The same holds true for commas.
Fair enough. Clear as chocolate pudding, though I still prefer the Bristish way. But what about punctuation other than periods and commas? Well, according to the same source, all other marks follow the final quotation mark, as in:
A. Shouldn’t a father intervene when a son swats his mother’s fanny with a dishtowel, laughs, and calls her “jiggly butt”?
These last two examples apply to Americans as well as those from other lands. The punctuation part, that is. Not the jiggly butt part…
So, tell me, do I have my facts straight? Have I interpreted these rules correctly? And for those of you who aren’t writers or who couldn’t give a ferret’s foreskin about periods and commas, what loving terms do your children call you? Your significant others? What songs get you hopping? Are daughters as fascinated with human anatomy as sons? Whatever you’ve got, I’ll take it.
- Tips for using punctuation with quotation marks (writeorrevisedaily.wordpress.com)
- Unnecessary Quotation Marks (johnbalaya.wordpress.com)
- The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks… and other funny blogs (julie-pruitt.com)